Tag Archives: Proximal Humerus Fracture

Broken Shoulder Treatment

In my last post What is a Broken Shoulder I explained all about the causes of broken shoulder and just how common it is to break your shoulder.

In this article I’m going to outline the various treatment options available.

Firstly the good news, most broken shoulders or proximal humerus fractures can be treated without surgery.

If the shoulder break is clean, meaning that there are no bone fragments displaced, the arm will be treated by being placed in a sling.

Eighty-five percent of shoulders which are broken, are nondisplaced, and do not require surgery.

The shoulder cannot be placed in a cast for healing, therefore a sling is worn, giving the shoulder time to heal, and preventing further damage.

Shoulder surgery

When the shoulder is broken due to traumatic injury such as a vehicle accident, or forceful fall, treatment may involve surgery.

If bone fragments are shattered, and shifted out of position, surgery is necessary. The fractured bone may be repositioned and fixated with screws, pins, or plates.

If the fragments are too small, or cannot be correctly positioned, shoulder replacement surgery may be necessary.

Factors that determine Broken Shoulder Treatment

Broken shoulder treatment depends on several factors.

Treatments can include wearing a shoulder sling, surgery to replace bone fragments, or shoulder replacement surgery.

Some important factors in determining the proper treatment are:

  • Age of the patient

  • Patient’s general health-is there pre-existing bone disease?

  • How much time has passed between the shoulder injury and diagnosis or treatment?

  • Bone density – is osteoporosis present?

  • Fracture placement-where is the break located in proximity to the shoulder?

  • Condition and placement of fracture fragments-are the fragments scattered or can they be fixated into place?

  • Extent of nerve and/or soft tissue damage surrounding the break

After any broken shoulder treatment, physical therapy is recommended. Supervised physical therapy exercises can help to preserve range of motion.

Normal recovery can be expected for most patients. Only a small percentage of shoulder fractures result in permanent nerve damage.

A period of immobilization will be necessary for approximately 4-6 weeks.

After the first few weeks of healing, more intensive exercises will decrease arm stiffness, and improve the shoulder’s range of motion.

A Broken shoulder is a great inconvenience, but can be managed with proper diagnosis and treatment.

I have produced a complete shoulder relief program that could help you relieve shoulder pain and rehabilitate your shoulder.

Always check with your doctor before doing any exercise and stop the exercise immediately if it causes pain.

—>CLICK HERE to order My complete Shoulder Program to rehabilitate your shoulder pain<—

Kind Regards,
Tim Allardyce DO MCSP SRP

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What is a Broken Shoulder

Should I Have Shoulder Surgery

 

What is a Broken Shoulder?

Broken shoulders actually account for 1 in 20 broken bones.

This is perhaps surprising because must of us are probably more used to seeing people with broken arms and legs.

What exactly is a broken shoulder?

broken shoulder

broken shoulder

A Broken shoulder in medical terms, is a proximal humerus fracture. In other words a break at the top of the upper arm.

Proximal indicates nearest to, humerus is the upper arm, and fracture meaning a break.

A proximal humerus fracture usually occurs after a hard fall. The fracture or break is at the top of the arm bone, but the shoulder is not usually displaced. A broken shoulder, shoulder fracture, or proximal humerus fracture is also more prevalent in the elderly, and those with osteoporosis.

Diagnosis of a Broken Shoulder

A broken shoulder occurs when the ball of the shoulder joint is broken. The break is at the top of the humerus that forms the shoulder joint. The break does not usually involve the shoulder being pulled completely out of place.

The proximal humerus, or upper part of the shoulder, is where the important rotator cuff muscles are located. Injury to the proximal humerus affects the function of the rotator cuff muscles, which gives the shoulder stability and movement.

What causes a broken shoulder?

When bones become too porous because of aging, or disease, they are prone to breaks. Osteoporotic bone is the major cause of a broken shoulder. The bone becomes less dense, and fragile to exterior pressures applied. This is why the elderly are at greater risk for breaking their shoulder during a fall. Broken shoulders account for approximately five percent of all fractures. The number is rising however, due to people living longer lives.

When the shoulder is broken, the axillary nerve is the most commonly injured nerve. The axillary nerve carries sensory information from the shoulder to the brain. If the shoulder is broken, the patient will lose skin sensation over the lateral, or outer deltoid muscle. The deltoid muscle is just beneath the skin, giving the shoulder a rounded appearance, and is used to raise the arm. The deltoid muscle will also lose its ability to contract, or move if there is a fracture.

Broken Shoulder Symptoms

Some other specific symptoms of a broken shoulder are severe swelling, very limited movement, and severe pain.

The symptoms are very similar to a dislocated shoulder. If the shoulder is dislocated however, you may see an irregular shape to the arm, or it looks deformed.

It is possible for the shoulder to be dislocated and broken at the same time, therefore an x-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan may be ordered to diagnose the shoulder properly.

Get my  free Shoulder Pain Special Report with important advice about shoulder pain. Enter your name and email address to receive this valuable report.

Kind Regards,
Tim Allardyce DO MCSP SRP

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